Attendees of the July performance of Giulio Cesare will be the first to witness and experience this new rendition of the opera, which will be presented at the prestigious “Savonlinna Opera Festival” in Finland next year. This three-act opera will be staged at the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc on Friday, 31 July, at 8 p.m.

In the spring of 2016, 292 years after its first performance in London, we presented to the Rijeka audience Giulio Cesare in Egitto, one of the most frequently performed baroque operas nowadays, the first staging of a Händel opera in Rijeka and the first performance of a baroque opera altogether on the stage of Zajc. The premiere of Cesare was then marked by the Rijeka debut of our Diana Haller, and a year later we captivated the Ljubljana audience with our guest performance at the Cankarjev dom.

In the summer of 2020, the Rijeka Giulio Cesare in Egitto will represent us at one of the most prestigious opera festivals in Europe, the Savonlinna Opera Festival. This is why we have decided not only to renew Giulio Cesare in Egitto but also to direct it anew. The new names in the cast will help us do so. And, what names! Diana Haller in the title role of Cesare and Anamarija Knego as his/her irresistible Cleopatra will be joined by the opera beast Dubravka Šeparović Mušović as Cornelia and Renata Pokupić – our internationally acclaimed interpreter of baroque music – in the role of her son Sesto. On the conductor’s podium and at the harpsichord again – Ville Matvejeff.

We will “read” anew the Händel’s opera, both from the music and directing point of view, as an orchestrated Shakespearean tragicomedy, namely, the so-called “romance”, in which the ironic and comic scenes, relations and sounds interchange and often interweave with scenes of tragic suffering, especially in the arias of Cleopatra and Cornelia, or Hamlet-like revengeful dilemmas in the arias and recitatives of Sesto. We will begin this production again as a “sitting” , that is, Sitz rehearsal, during which singers appear and behave as “they themselves”, gradually transforming into the ultimate, recycled and baroque-wise eclectic opera spectacle. Namely, we start from the same suppositions as we did four years ago. However, soon after the related beginning, follow – surprises, turns and new performing challenges.

The opera clocks in at 3 hours and 33 minutes, with two intermissions.